• California Supreme Court to Consider Scope of California's Meal and Rest Break Requirements
  • November 6, 2008 | Authors: Lisa Perrochet; Felix Shafir
  • Law Firm: Horvitz & Levy LLP - Encino Office
  • On Wednesday, October 22, 2008, the California Supreme Court granted review of the Court of Appeal's decision in Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court, Case No. S163681.  The California Supreme Court will consider the proper interpretation of California statutes and regulations governing an employer's duty to provide meal and rest breaks. The issues the Supreme Court may address include:

    • Whether employers have to ensure that employees take meal periods.  The Court of Appeal held employers need only make meal periods available and that meal period claims in Brinker did not satisfy class certification standards since the reason employees did not take meal breaks could only be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
    • When an employer must provide its employees with meal breaks.
    • Whether employers have to ensure that employees take rest breaks.  The Court of Appeal held that employees may waive their rest breaks, and that the rest break claims in Brinker did not satisfy class certification standards since thousands of mini-trials would be necessary to determine why each employee did not take a rest break.
    • When an employer must schedule a rest break and whether the propriety of scheduling a rest break at a particular time can be litigated on a class basis.
    • Whether statistical evidence is insufficient to support class certification if it does not provide a class-wide answer to key individualized questions.

    The Supreme Court's decision in Brinker may well have a significant impact on employers given the increase in wage and hour class actions over the past decade.